Number of School Health Clinics in State Rises; Funding Issues Persist
The number of school-based health care centers is increasing in California, but funding challenges remain, the Los Angeles Times reports.
About the Centers
There are 183 school health centers in California, an increase from 121 in 2004. According to the California School Health Centers Association, 12 more clinics are expected to open by next summer.
Most of the centers are staffed by physicians and nurse practitioners and are located in low-income neighborhoods. The centers are run by hospitals or community clinics.
The centers generally offer aÂ range of health care services, such as dental care, drug counseling, immunizations, mental health treatment and physical examinations.
Experts say the clinics are a key part of the health care safety net because they offer no-cost or low-cost care for low-income residents who might not receive regular medical care.
School-based health centers are funded by federal dollars, private insurance and Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. In addition, the federal health reform law provided $200 million to help fund school-based health centers nationwide. This summer, California received $14 million in federal grants to expand existing clinics and open new ones.
Financial challenges still persist even with the various funding sources because many patients are uninsured and some services are not covered by insurance, so clinics struggle to recover costs (Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 11/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.